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Global 3D printing market set to top $ 17 b


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The global market for 3D printing is expected to be worth $ 17.46 billion in 2020 from $ 6.51 billion in 2016, according to a report highlighting the current status of the regulatory framework and best 3D printing markets for investments.

The healthcare industry is proving to be an enthusiastic adopter of the 3D printing technology and the widespread use of this technology will lead to better treatment modalities and approaches, better materials and eventually better lives for both the patient as well as the surgeon, added the report titled ‘3D Printing Systems in Healthcare, Forecast to 2020’ from Frost & Sullivan, a growth partnership company.

Challenges such as low reimbursement rates, lack of a clear regulatory framework and issues related to cyber security and intellectual property need to be addressed for 3D printing to get into mass production, it said.

“3D printing saves healthcare facilities substantial costs by accelerating the concept-to-prototype process, and even creates multiple product iterations within hours or days,” noted Frost & Sullivan transformational health senior consultant Swarna Sundar.

“The cost of 3D printing is competitive for small production runs and advantageous for companies that have low production volumes or develop parts or products that are highly complex or require frequent modifications.

“Healthcare is the third-largest consumer of 3D-printed products, behind consumer electronics and motor vehicles, accounting for 17% of the total market revenue,” added Sundar.

“Market segments such as dentistry, orthopaedic reconstruction, orthopaedic trauma and prosthetics are best placed in the next five years. Over the next two to five years, markets such as corrective lenses, advanced wound care and stents also show promising growth prospects. Bio-printing and organ transplants are interesting areas that hold significant potential but are subject to high levels of risk and long dated.”

As implant manufacturers’ few-sizes-fit-all approach to device production could often result in post-operative complications such as pain, implant failure and infections, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding 3D printing, especially in orthopaedics, dentistry and prosthetics.

A device or a product manufactured using 3D printing can be tailor printed to the exact shape of an individual’s anatomy and is today predominantly being used to make pre-surgery models or guides for training and intra-operative planning. These guides reduce the surgery time, lower the risks of complications and infections which results in achieving a higher success rate in surgeries and reduce the overall cost of surgery.

Due to its cost effectiveness and rapid manufacturing process, countries all over the world are eager to adopt 3D printing technology. The biggest markets by revenue are:

  •  North America: The US contributes 38% of the total market revenue, as it is home to several large companies that provide systems, materials and software for 3D printing.
  •  Europe: Germany is one of the leading European end-user countries, followed by the United Kingdom. Along with France and Italy, Europe accounts for 20.6% of the revenue.
  •  Asia-Pacific: This is the key region for potential 3D printing adoption, and is dominated by South Korea, China and Japan. The region boasts an extensive industrial base, supportive government policies and considerable R&D funding. Both Japan and China are important markets in terms of Government initiatives and pace of growth. 

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